A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that a person with sleep apnea has a significantly higher risk of sudden cardiac death.
A moderate case of obstructive sleep apnea can significantly increase a person's risk for sudden cardiac death, an often fatal condition where the heart stops beating and must be immediately treated with CPR or an automated external defibrillator, according to the largest study of its kind published online today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Sleep apnea is diagnosed when a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or longer at least five times per hour during sleep. It has been widely reported that sleep apnea can lead to a number of heart conditions, including high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and heart attacks.
Low oxygen saturation occurs when air does not flow into the lungs when a sleep apnea patient is sleeping and as a result the patient's blood oxygen levels drop. The study clarifies that sleep apnea patients' risk of sudden cardiac death does not simply shift from daytime hours to nighttime hours but that their overall risk of sudden cardiac death is higher than people without sleep apnea.

Women suffering from sleep apnea have, on the whole, a higher degree of brain damage than men with the disorder, according to a first-of-its-kind study conducted by researchers at the UCLA School of Nursing. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have identified a potential new risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea: asthma. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is advising anyone with Type 2 diabetes or hypertension to be evaluated for sleep apnea by a board-certified sleep medicine physician.
A new study conducted at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has revealed some of the underlying mechanisms that may increase the risk of heart disease in people with sleep apnea. UCLA researchers have reported the first evidence that obstructive sleep apnea contributes to a breakdown of the blood–brain barrier, which plays an important role in protecting brain tissue. Like more than 20 million other Americans, John Brugger has been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Researchers in this study examined the relationship between sleep apnea and sudden cardiac death, building off of their prior study that found people with sleep apnea more frequently died suddenly from cardiac causes during the hours of 10 p.m. In that time, 142 patients experienced sudden cardiac death, with the most common predictors being a patient aged 60 years, having 20 apnea episodes an hour and having a lowest oxygen saturation level of below 78 percent.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, more than 12 million American adults suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and many of them are undiagnosed.

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